What newsletters are you subscribed to, and why?

post by Rudi C (rudi-c) · 2020-05-14T14:47:17.584Z · LW · GW · 6 comments

I've found myself increasingly feeling the need for curated newsletters on the topics I care about from interesting people in the field, but I have little clue where to look for them.

I currently follow TLDR newsletter(in Telegram because that’s more convenient than in email), because I find the news it delivers worth my while, and I haven’t found a better alternative. I also use rss feeds to see posts with +500 scores from Hackernews and the top posts of lobste.rs.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by DataPacRat · 2020-05-15T13:24:29.134Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On April 9th, I blogged at https://sfw.furaffinity.net/journal/9460996/ :

Four Hundred Eighteen RSS feeds

I've taken my full list of feeds in RSSOwlnix ( https://github.com/Xyrio/RSSOwlnix ), trimmed out any that are particularly personal or that I can think of some other reason not to post, and stuffed the resulting list at https://www.datapacrat.com/temp/rssowl-trimmed-2020-04-08.opml , for anyone to download and make use of. You should be able to simply import the whole thing in one gulp into RSSOwlnix, if you're trying that program out; if you're using some other feed reader, the OPML file is plaintext, and if that reader can't import it, it should be easy enough to figure out the folders, feed names, and feed URLs.

(If you do subscribe to the whole bunch, I suggest letting your reader populate your copies of the feeds, and then mark the whole thing as read; so that you can pay attention to only the new posts as they come in.)

I admit 418 seems like a lot, but 114 of them can be ignored and deleted by anyone not in Canada, another 121 are webcomics, and at least 46 are connected to the LessWrong online diaspora, leaving only 137 of general interest. (I've tried subscribing to several thousand feeds over the years, trying out things like grabbing feeds from every newspaper, TV station, or other mass media outlet I could find; or focusing in on specific topics from Fortran to the First Nations; but dropped most of the ones I found myself not paying attention to. RSSOwlnix is a very useful program, but even it can start to chug a bit with how many feeds I've occasionally managed to fill it with.)

I won't list all the feed URLs here - that's what the OPML file is for :) - but here's a summary of what's what:

The first half-dozen feeds are my general online news, mostly feeds that I've been subscribed to for years: Boing Boing, Slashdot, Metafilter, kottke.org, and the top-voted items of Hacker News. (Pluralistic is new, but it's run by Cory Doctorow, who's been part of Boing Boing for years.) Following them are two feeds from KnowYourMeme, which helps me keep track of whatever new in-jokes the young'uns keep coming up with and sending through the intertubes.

Next up is what I've been calling 'Emergencies', which for some time I've been treating as 'the actual international news' - plane crashes, earthquakes, floods, and all the other things that you'd expect to be covered in newspapers and the six o'clock news, but so rarely actually are. This section has two subgroups for Canada's health agencies, reporting product recalls, food safety, and other things. And lastly for this set, my newest collection of feeds: submissions to a half-dozen COVID-19 subreddits.

If you subscribe to nothing but the above two sets, you'll be better informed about current events than a disappointing proportion of the general population. (Though you probably want to be a bit wary of those subreddits, which are imperfectly moderated at best, so you have to watch out for propaganda and outright falsehoods.)

Following all that seriousness are the webcomics. Mostly sorted out, I've got a pile of political comics and newspaper editorials; furry comics; gaming comics; newspaper strips; science-fiction comics; and a smattering of random ones.

After that I've got feeds from a variety of authours (from published professionals to silly homebrew worlds), some furry blogs, feeds specific to my local area, politically-focused blogs and newspapers, a wide selection from the LessWrong/Rationality community, feeds about particular pieces of software, and a final half-dozen I haven't sorted anywhere in particular. Oh, and a trio of RSS feeds for some YouTube channels, mostly to show how you can do that for your own preferred channels.

(The last part of the OPML file includes my current preferences for RSSOwlNix, such as fonts and standard feed-refresh times, and that I prefer to run a "clean-up" of the database once a month.)

These feeds - plus the ones I'm not including in this sampler - are how I get around three-quarters of my online news. Most of the other quarter are from sites that aren't so handy to keep up with via RSS, such as furry art sites; and the remainder come from a dozen or so email lists. As I've mentioned in a recent journal, I don't bother with Facebook or Instagram or the like; and I mostly avoid Twitter's unending stream and dark-pattern nudges by just keeping an eye on particular Twitter accounts' RSS feeds. After trying and discarding all sorts of other approaches over the years, this is what's turned out to work for me; and, hopefully, at least some of it will work for you, too. :)

comment by Dagon · 2020-05-14T19:56:08.233Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've found it worth paying for Inoreader, since the sad demise of Google Reader. It makes it fairly easy to add a feed (including most newsletters) when I'm considering it, then to move it to a folder or unsubscribe (without deleting, I still want to remember that I tried it) if I change my mind.

comment by Zachary Robertson (zachary-robertson) · 2020-05-14T18:56:58.487Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Just a meta-comment. If you don’t give a description of the feed, I found myself very unlikely to look at the url.

comment by palisatrium · 2020-05-15T08:32:28.976Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Shameless self promotion, but I did recently launch a blog with high level links and commentary due to the lockdown. Feel free to delete if this isn't the place for this.


comment by Tomasz (tomasz-1) · 2020-05-14T15:54:52.274Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The Syllabus (https://the-syllabus.com/ ) from Evgeny Morozov.